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Pushback: Central Florida U forced to end censorship and blacklisting

University of Central Florida: Hostile to free speech
University of Central Florida: Its hostility to free
speech had better change soon!

Bring a gun to a knife fight: In a settlement late last month [pdf] resulting from an April ruling against it by the courts, the University of Central Florida agreed to end its programs and policies designed to censor and even blacklist students who expressed opinions the university did not like.

The lawsuit [pdf] was brought by the legal organization Speech First, a student membership organization which acts to stop colleges from squelching the first amendment rights of students.

UCF officials agreed to pay $35,000 in legal fees, rewrite a harassment policy and discontinued the bias response team in a settlement with Speech First.

…The settlement “led to the elimination of UCF’s Stasi-like bias response team and ensured that the university’s policies actually consider the fundamental rights of their students,” Cherise Trump, the group’s executive director, wrote in a news release [pdf]. “Our win in the Eleventh Circuit not only set precedent in all of Florida, Alabama, and Georgia, but it also guarantees that universities recognize that the law is not on their side when they want to violate their students’ rights and shut down dissenting ideas.”

The college’s bias response teams were structured to report and punish any student for…

…any behavior or action directed towards an individual or group based upon [the] actual or perceived identity characteristics or background [of the complainant] without regard to whether the act is legal, illegal, intentional, or unintentional.

These Gastopo-like teams could also report on students who violated the university overly broad “discriminatory-harassment policy” as well as its overly broad computer policy. The former “discipline[d] students who engage[d] in ‘verbal acts, name-calling, [or] graphic or written statements (via the use of cell phone or the internet)’ that other students [found] offensive or ‘humiliating’, while the latter “[forbade] students from transmitting or displaying ‘images, sounds, or messages that reasonably could be perceived as being harassing, invasive, or otherwise unwanted.'”

All these policies were so broad they allowed anyone offended by anyone’s opinion to essentially outlaw all dissent. Since the university is run by leftists (as almost all colleges are in the U.S.), the result was the silencing and blacklisting of conservative students. The lawsuit outlines in detail three cases in particular.

Though the settlement is very clear, the university did not respond to emails asking how it will implement these changes throughout the school. Simply changing the boilerplate of a policy or dismantling the bias response teams is not enough. Teachers and administrators have to make it very clear that they will shut down any attempt to silence any student who expresses a dissenting view that offends someone. The answer to such whining is not to censor, but to tell the whiner to grow up. School officials have to have the courage to say this.

Since this is a public college in the state of Florida, whose government under Republican governor Ron DeSantis and a strongly Republican state legislature has not taken kindly to blacklisting and censorship, we should expect action, either by the school, or by DeDantis and the legislature, to make sure further censorship and blacklisting does not happen.

Note too that this is not the only free speech case that the University of Central Florida has recently lost. In 2021 it fired a teacher for criticizing Black Lives Matter on his personal Twitter feed. That teacher fought back in court, and in May won entirely, getting reinstated to his position with full back pay.

I expect that elected officials are keeping a very close eye on this college, and will move quickly if it shows any signs of backsliding.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!

 

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

 

Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

6 comments

  • Cotour

    Related:

    A DEMOCRAT: SLICE OF REALITY (please copy and share)

    There is today a controversy in the Pennsylvania Senate race between John Fetterman and Dr. Oz.

    John Fetterman, who is without doubt, let’s say an “Interesting ” person and an avowed Leftist / no bail no jail candidate in fact, recently had what can be considered a serious stroke. And he sat for what can be considered a *special* interview with an MSNBC reporter and he required a computer screen with her questions projected on it because he is no longer in possession of the ability to perceive audio information and he is unable to speak coherently as a result of his stroke.

    And the MSNBC reporter after the interview had the nerve according to Mr. Fetterman’s wife to report that Fetterman was unable to function as observed by her previous to the interview and is indeed disabled and needed these special devices to function in the interview.

    And Mrs. Fetterman wants the reporter to suffer some punitive consequence because she did her job and reported the situation to her *NEWS* audience. She was doing actual journalism and reporting the facts of the special situation and the candidate’s actual real-world functional condition.

    Mrs. Fetterman on journalism regarding her now by her own words disabled husband: https://youtu.be/DB963rDozXY

    She and many other Democrats just do not get it, they conveniently think XXXXXX up. They long ago have forgotten what America is about and is supposed to be about. BUT, this contradictory perspective and inability to comprehend is but a convenient expression of the political warfare we all see playing out before our own unbelieving eyeballs.

    And so, you must understand, and so you must choose.

    And there is an additional controversy about Mr. Fetterman, former mayor of Braddock PA who is running for a seat in the United States Senate and his apparent association with or endorsement for the Crips street gang. What!? Mr. Fetterman is a staunch believer in a no bail no jails for criminals’ policy. What street gang member of any stripe would not vote for him or any other candidate with that kind of AOC attitude?

    The morning of November 9th is going to be one big hang over type morning for the Democrat party and their mindless knee jerk self-destructive apparently suicidal members.

    And I know a Democrat voter can see it for what it is. But what will you do?

    https://apis.mail.aol.com/ws/v3/mailboxes/@.id==VjN-_95qz8vtNQnj2guvJpSi615JXjYizy9bcZuM2MCqJDk8zBIwKj0CmLH_qmCDE5NsTJVJXmOu9vG5vVhaOWavzw/messages/@.id==ACKBN3JH7winY0rJsAi6YKX9N4M/content/parts/@.id==2/thumbnail?appid=AolMailNorrin&downloadWhenThumbnailFails=true&pid=2

  • Cotour

    Related observation:

    Like president Biden and his vice president Kamala Harris possibly the least competent and mindless politically empowered politician that has ever existed in American history Fetterman is like them but a Democrat party machine automaton and auto vote for what he is told he will and will not support.

    Controlled frauds all, elect a talking hamster and the same result would occur.

    Pure Strategy.

  • pzatchok

    I just like the fact they got rid of their bias response team.

  • Pyrthroes

    Fetterman needs no introduction. A political obituary will do as well.

  • Xutag77

    No big deal. When will someone be held responsible for setting it upon the first place? A parallel response could be using the bias response team to investigate those setting up the bias response team because it offend those in love with the First Admendment.

  • wayne

    The Wizard of Oz –
    Tornado scene – synced w/Pink Floyd’s ‘On the Run’
    https://youtu.be/v0pKiMqBbsU
    3:45

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